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"An it harm none, do what ye will!"

The Wiccan Rede (also known as the Pagan Rede or the Witch's Rede) is the main law in most pagan religions. These simple eight words are actually hard to follow when you take a minute to think about it! Do whatever you want but don't cause harm in the process. This is included in actions, deeds, words, intentions, etc. There are many forms of "harm" such as manipulation, black magick, insults, physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, blackmail, etc. The list can go on and on. Most of us sometimes will say something or do something that in actuality can be harmful. Even if we don't mean for it to be that way.

However, this doesn't mean that you cannot protect yourself or the ones you love. After all, do you really think that the gods expect us to just stand there while those we love (or ourselves) are being attacked? The exception to the rede comes when you're trying to defend yourself. Then you only harm whoever or whatever is trying to do harm to you just enough to get away to safety. Another exception is that we must cause some harm to animals and plants so we can eat. But that is the law of nature and is needed for survival. Right? This can sometimes become very confusing for most people. After all, how do we determine what is right or not? How can we say we won't do any harm but still we have to harm to survive? I have seen discussions on this topic last for hours and they actually get pretty interesting and philosophical. Everyone has an opinion on how things are supposed to work. I personally have always felt that common sense should tell you what is appropriate. If someone came after me with a knife and the only way to protect myself was to harm that person you can bet that I would! At least just enough so I could get away and to safety (unfortunately that can sometimes be a lot!) On the same note, I also won't try and harm someone just because I didn't like him or her. See my meaning?

What most people don't know about the rede is that it is part of something much longer. I don't know where it originated. However, many pagans (especially Wiccans) like to include the below somehow in their lives. So, I've included it here.

Bide ye wiccan laws you must,
in perfect love and perfect trust
Live ye must and let to live,
fairly take and fairly give
For the circle thrice about
to keep unwelcome spirits out
To bind ye spell well every time,
let the spell be spake in rhyme
Soft of eye and light of touch,
speak ye little, listen much
Deosil go by the waxing moon,
chanting out ye baleful tune
When ye Lady's moon is new,
kiss ye hand to her times two
When ye moon rides at her peak,
then ye heart's desire seek
Heed the north winds might gale,
lock the door and trim the sail
When the wind comes from the south,
love will kiss thee on the mouth
When the wind blows from the east,
expect the new and set the feast.
Nine woods in the cauldron go,
burn them fast and burn them slow
Elder be ye lady's tree,
burn it not or cursed ye'll be
When the wheel begins to turn,
soon ye Yule
light the log the Horned One rules
Heed ye flower, bush and tree,
by the Lady blessed be
Where the rippling waters go,
cast a stone, the truth ye'll know
When ye have and hold a need,
harken not to others greed
With a fool no season spend,
or be counted as his friend
Merry meet and merry part,
bright the cheeks and warm the heart
Mind ye threefold law ye should
three times bad and three times good
When misfortune is enow,
wear the star upon thy brow
True in love may ye ever be,
lest thy love be false to thee
These eight words the wiccan fede fulfil;

The Rede goes hand in hand with the LAW OF THREE. This law deals with karma and states that whatever you do will come back to you threefold. If you do something bad, then something worse will happen to you. If you do something good, then something better will happen. Nothing can get you out of your karmic debts. And you're not always repaid right away. If a murderer goes to jail and gets executed before his karmic debts are paid, he/she will have to face them in another lifetime.

The Law Of Three is often called the Three Fold Law. There are many different opinions on what exactly "Three Fold" means. Some say that it means 3 times. If that is so then what will happen to one who does something wrong will be 3X worse than what they originally did. However, others say that it means 3 X 3 which equals 9. And, that being the case then what will happen is 9 times worse (or better as the case may be)! Still, there are some who say that three fold means 3 X 3 X 3 which is equal to 27! Personally, I feel that what matters more then the exact amount that one may get is just the plain simple fact that you will get what you deserve. Karma doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care if you are rich or poor. It doesn't care what race or ethnic group you are from. It doesn't care if you are well taught or have never been in school. It only cares about what you do.

Some believe that your true intentions and reasons for doing what you do can sometimes lessen or worsen your karma. i.e. "It's the thought that counts." However, I think that it all depends on the situation. Sometimes karma may affect you differently if your intentions were good but the outcome wasn't. But, that seems to be something that is based on a case by case basis and I'm sure we could come up with hundreds of examples of why this would and would not be plausible. I'll let you decide for yourself for this is an area that seems to appear to different people in different ways.